8 • Lesson 3 Word List

anonymous

(adj) Of an unknown source or unrevealed name.
We wish we could thank the person who gave this anonymous donation to our library fund.

anthology

(n) A collection of various writings, such as songs, stories, or poems.
This anthology of science-fiction stories includes some by Ray Bradbury, Julian May, and Ursula Le Guin.

conjecture

(n) A conclusion based on guesswork or insufficient evidence.
Dad’s conjecture that the derelict building would be a problem proved to be correct when it caught on fire.

(v) To form an opinion while lacking sufficient evidence.
The fire chief conjectured that oily rags may have been the cause of the fire.

disposition

(n) 1. A person’s usual mood; temperament.
People enjoy Alice’s company because of her sunny disposition.

2. A regular tendency or inclination.
Roberto’s disposition to argue about everything can sometimes get him into trouble.

compete
encompass

(v) 1. To enclose or encircle.
Except for one narrow pass, mountains encompass the village of Neudorf on all sides.

2. To include.
Our studies this year encompass science, math, social studies, and English.

compete
extricate

(v) To free from a difficult or tangled situation.
Extricating our bags from the bus’s crowded storage area was much simpler than we thought it would be.

compete
generation*

(n) 1. One step in the line of descent of a family.
Four generations were represented at Naomi’s family reunion last summer.

2. All the people born and living about the same time.
My grandfather’s generation lived through the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.

3. The average span of time between the birth of parents and their children.
Within one generation this town became a city.

guile

(n) Cunning or deceit in dealing with others; trickery.
The Grimm brothers vividly described the wolf’s guile toward Little Red Riding Hood.

imperative

(adj) 1. Urgent; pressing.
It is imperative that I finish this English assignment before tomorrow’s deadline.

2. Having the power or authority to command.
Because of the imperative tone of the letter, Ida began immediately to reply.

instill

(v) To introduce gradually in order to establish securely.
Juanita’s love of animals was instilled in her during the summer vacations spent at her uncle’s farm as a child.

modify*

(v) 1. To make less extreme or severe.
My parents agreed to modify my weekend curfew after I promised to study Monday through Thursday evenings.

2. To make changes in.
The teenagers modified their language when they tutored young children after school.

3. In grammar, to limit or restrict in meaning.
In the phrase the black chair, the adjective black modifies the noun chair.

pivot

(n) 1. A small bar or rod on which something else turns.
The gate swung shut easily on its well-oiled pivot.

2. A person or thing on which others depend.
The quarterback is the pivot of a team’s offense.

(v) To turn on or as if on a pivot.
A weathervane pivots when the wind changes direction.

pivotal (adj) Vitally important; significant.
The first human landing on Mars will be a pivotal event in the history of space exploration.

prevalent

(adj) Commonly occurring; widely accepted or practiced.
Both chicken pox and the flu were prevalent in Edison Middle School last winter.

recur

(v) 1. To come up again or to happen again.
The same musical themes recur throughout all the movies in the series.

2. To come to mind again.
The events of the night of the concert recurred to Maddox many times during the next few weeks.

recurrence (n) The act of recurring.
Engineers hope that the new dam will prevent a recurrence of flooding.

spontaneous

(adj) 1. Voluntary and unplanned.
The crowd burst into a spontaneous chant of “Go! Go! Go!” as the first two runners neared the finish line.

2. Occurring or produced without human labor.
My abuelo thought the spontaneous appearance of the tomato plants was because of seeds dropped by birds.

spontaneity (n) The quality or condition of occurring in an unplanned way.
With unexpected spontaneity, Isabelle rose to embrace her friend.

compete

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